Next, we didn't have the smoothest departure imaginable. On the morning we were supposed to deposit Mimi at the kennel and head south to meet up with Hub 1.0, Mimi was limping badly. This led to an emergency trip to the vet's, on to the kennel to explain why we weren't checking in at that moment, then to a veterinary orthopedic surgeon for emergency x-rays, then back to the kennel, this time to announce that Mimi had pulled a muscle in her back, needed steroids and (dog) bed rest, and could they let us know that she was doing okay? We then headed back home to pack (yes, I'm embarrassed to say we hadn't finished our packing, mostly because we'd thought we'd have lots of time...), rest for a half hour, then head south to meet Hub.
Here's the result though:
That's Mount McKinley, or Denali, as the native Athapascans call the mountain. The local Alaskans call it "the mountain," as in the question, "Can you see the mountain today?" We could, and that makes us very lucky; this has been the coldest and wettest summer in quite some time. Add that to the fact that Denali is also known as "the weathermaker" because it frequently makes its own climatic conditions, and you've got a recipe for disappointment for all those tourists who signed up for a trip to Denali (confusingly, that's also the name of the national park that the mountain is in) only to be confronted with solid clouds.
Hey, Hub 1.0 and I have been there, stared at that. When we went to the Grand Canyon, what we actually got was solid white cloud. As a result, we figure we got to see the mountain because of our "view karma" being in good standing.
How postcardal is that?
Here I am, at a spot where the coach driver could pull off and let us tumble out with our cameras.
And here are my travelling companions (Hub 1.0 and the Starman, with Denali between them):
Shortly after this spot on the road, we ended up in Talkeetna, where we boarded the Alaskan Railroad (one of the nice glass-domed cars) and did the rest of the trip to Denali by rail. Hub 1.0 spent most of the time on the platform behind the car, but here's evidence that Starman hung out next to me:
There will be more photos of Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, but in the meantime, I won't keep you in suspense: we had a great time, particularly the traveling together bits. And Mimi has recovered just fine from her back troubles. We've agreed that her career as a gymnast is over, but that's probably for the best. I don't really want to ship her off to Houston and the tender mercies of the doggy equivalent of Bela Karoli...